Nick Carver Photography Blog

Photography Tips, Tutorials, & Videos


Some Sweet Abandoned Buildings

We had some cloud cover coming through Orange County a couple weeks back that have really made some nice sunsets. I went to my usual spot of Quail Hill one day and I considered hitting up the beach, but when I went out on the 21st, I was itching for some new material. I didn't care if it was nature, urban or a mix, I just wanted some new subject matter for a change.

Anyone from Orange County will know how hard this is. You can only shoot the same beaches so many times and battle the track housing for so long before it gets old. Orange County's nice, but it's no Washington state. If I wanted new material, I knew it wasn't going to be anything fantastic if it was within a 50-mile radius. So, I decided to explore.

They recently opened up this hot-air-like balloon that takes people above the future "Great Park" on the former El Toro Marine Base. I'd never been before, but I thought I'd try exploring around there. Well, I'm sure glad I did, because I found some amazing old buildings on this retired Marine Base.†

I drove along an empty road, waiting for some cop or barricade to stop me from going any further, but nothing did. So I kept driving until I got to a deserted building that looked like it used to be some sort of utility building (there were a ton of circuit breakers and pipes and warehouse rooms and stuff). Windows were broken, the asphalt was cracked and overrun by bushes, doors were left open - it looked just so awesome. All the textures and character of this place were screaming to be photographed.†

That afternoon I managed to get some pretty good landscapes of this dilapidated building at sunset. The entire time I was shooting, no one came to kick me out, no one was around, I was completely alone and having a great time. Here are the resultant pictures:

Then I went back a second day to scout around inside the building. This was a little more creepy but just as awesome. The big, cavernous rooms were dark and bare except for some serious spider webs around the doors and a few tumbleweeds. I snapped off a few self-portraits while I was there:

Unfortunately, though, the all-too-bored Irvine PD came and kicked me out on the third visit there. Good thing, too. Us pesky photographers are always getting into trouble, defacing property and putting otherwise unused property to good use.†

The moral to this story: Exploration is a fun and important technique to finding good shots, almost as important as remaining discreet when doing it.

Switchin it up a Little Bit

I was out taking pictures for the landscape photography class I'll be teaching next month and I got this new picture:

I don't normally use such a narrow depth of field on my landscapes, but I thought it worked here. I really wanted to draw attention to the cracks in the dirt, so I used an aperture of f/4. I think I'll be doing a lot more of this.

Canon EOS 5D, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L, Singh-Ray 3x Reverse ND, Lexar Digital Film, Gitzo Explorer Tripod, Cable Release, Mirror Lock-Up

Winter in Orange County

We've had a lot of weather lately in Orange County. Some winter storms have brought rain, wind and very cold temperatures (for OC at least). I personally love it. I think I was built to live someplace more like Seattle than Orange County, so it's nice to have a little taste of winter weather for a change. I remember one year my friend and I went and got popsicles on Christmas Day because it was so hot. I'm happy to say this year will be different.

Orange County in Winter

These storms have, of course, made for some interesting light. I'm ashamed to say I haven't taken advantage of it to the degree that I should. Life has gotten the best of me and I've consequently been in a bit of a rut these past few weeks. I haven't felt like taking new pictures, editing old pictures or doing anything at all, really. Just an overall lack of vigor for life, you know what I mean?

Oh, well. These periods happen in life. At least they are few and far between for me and I am coming out of it. So I decided to get off my ass yesterday and go get some shots. I didn't go to the beach like usual. Instead, I drove to the empty road behind my old high school. It's in the hills and only the roads are set up for the acres of tract housing that are soon to come (don't get me started on that - I hate all this development).

There's a nice view of Irvine and Tustin below from up there, especially on a clear day after a rainstorm. I was pleased to find prominent shafts of light piercing through the clouds to the ground below. Patches of light illuminated portions of Irvine and Tustin creating some interesting layers and patterns. The light was fantastic, the scenery - not so much. But I did get a couple nice shots. Check it out above or on Flickr.

On a side note - I will be keeping up with this blog better in the future and I will be taking more pictures!

Happy Holidays!